The Observer, Spring 2024 - Issue 5

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See Pages 6 - 7

By the students, for the students



Isaac Dobmeier & Winnie Killingsworth

The months-long search for a Vice President of Equity and Belonging and Senior Diversity Officer has been deemed a failure by President Jim Wohlpart and is set to be re-launched in the fall, according to an email sent out to CWU staff and students on the morning of April 30. Interim Vice President Dr. Lucinda Carnell is set to return to her position as a member of the biological sciences faculty after the end of the year.

When The Observer reached out to Carnell over the phone, she said that she was about to enter a meeting, but would answer our questions when emailed to her. In response to our email that was sent immediately after the phone conversation, she answered none of the questions, and instead directed us back to the statement issued earlier in the day and to the head of University Relations David Leder for any further questions. When The Observer reached out to Leder, he said, “We don’t have any additional information to share at this time,” but said that a follow-up email with more information was “in the works.”

The email from Wohlpart highlighted the hope of Wohlpart, the search committee, the executive leadership team and the shared governance leaders of CWU to “hire an Interim Vice President who has proven executive-level experience.”

When reached out to for comment, ASCWU President Malik Cantu expressed their dismay with the failure to find someone to fill the position fulltime. “The decision to call a failed search on this position is concerning,” Cantu said. “Especially since many students expressed positive feedback on each can-

didate. With the constant turnover and shifting of leadership and even faculty and staff, students are losing faith in the university’s stability. This position in particular not being filled sparks deep disappointment. I will reach out to President Wohlpart to learn more about why this decision was made.”

The three candidates from the failed search were Abby Chien, Dr. Schvalla R. Rivera and Dr. Allen Sutton. Chien has a masters from the University of Connecticut in Higher Education and Student Affairs. From 2019 to 2021, she was the director of CWU’s Diversity and Equity Center and was promoted in 2023 to the current Associate Director of Strategy & Partnerships with the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC). Chien has been with WSAC since March 2022.

Rivera has a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on teaching, learning and leadership from Indiana State University. They have experience as both the associate vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion from June 2020 to February 2021 and then vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion from February 2021 to June 2023 at Grinnell College. During their tenure in both positions, they also served as the chief diversity officer and senior advisor to the president. Rivera is the founder and president of Consiliaris LLC, a coaching and consultant firm.

Sutton has been the executive director for Equity Education at Washington State University since 2019 and earned his Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama that same year.

Sutton is expected to complete another master’s degree, this one in justice and advocacy from Fuller Theological Seminary in spring 2024. His first master’s degree, completed in 2005, is a Master’s of Education in College Student Personnel from the University of Southern Mississippi.

“Given some of the challenges we are facing, and the need to demonstrate progress in our work to become a model learning community of equity and belonging, it is essential that we hire the right individual to lead our university during this challenging time,” read a portion of Wohlpart’s email sent out to the CWU community April 30.

According to Wohlpart’s email, CWU will “review CVs [Curriculum Vitae] for potential interim candidates from The Registry,” an interim placement firm for higher education institutions in the U.S., to fill Carnell’s position after she returns to the biological sciences department. The Registry has been used in the past by CWU. Publicly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, only two-to-three of the 19 members of the firm’s leadership team appear to be people of color.

The search ceasing coincides with the launch of @centerwa_catsofcolor, an Instagram account led by many of CWU’s faculty and staff of color. Their first post, published on the evening prior to the halting of the search for a Vice President (April 29), a manifesto of sorts, reads:

“We, as faculty and staff of color at CWU, are writing to express our solidarity with students of color and our colleagues. We hear and see you! Like you, we find ourselves experiencing a more profound, pronounced, and insidious marginalization under the current

administration. Instead of a learning community of equity and belonging, CWU has fostered a defensive culture that amplifies our fears of speaking out. Therefore, we feel it’s important to convey how the new mission and vision touted by the administration has merely masked age-old structures of white supremacy and heteropatriarchy.

We face discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, size, gender, and sexual identity more intensely than ever before. Under this administration, our experiences and concerns are often dismissed or ignored. Our job descriptions are misclassified and inaccurately assessed and valued; we are professionally and experientially invalidated, tokenized, and retaliated against through performance evaluations and blocked pathways to promotion. Highly regarded tenets of postsecondary education of shared governance, expertise, and integrity have been brushed aside in the name of equity. Responsibility to actualize our mission and vision has been pushed down by our leadership to those who are being hurt by the leadership.

Until considerable change occurs, we will continue to share our experiences and fight for a future where equity and belonging prevail. Stay tuned for more.”

The Observer reached out to Leder about the Instagram post and in his reply, he said that “[President Wohlpart] and our executive leadership team take this kind of criticism very seriously. If you do a follow-up story for next week, we will likely be able to provide you with a more thoughtful response.”

The Observer will continue coverage of this situation in the coming weeks.

Vol. 128 NO. 5 May 2, 2024
A close up of Barge Hall where administration at CWU is located. (Photo by Omar Benitez)



Local National Global

A new Kittitas County member was unanimously voted in 4-0 for position five on April 23 according to the Daily Record. Randall “Randy” Acker was the only one to apply for the seat.

The host of “Lines on Wines,” Ellensburg’s longest-running show on Ellensburg Community Radio, Marji Morgan is leading a seven-night wine tour river cruise next June in Burgundy, France. The cruise is a collaboration between Ellensburg Travel and AmaWaterways as reported by the Daily Record.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency was used to purchase self-contained breathing apparatuses and air bottle units for the Kittitas Valley Fire & Rescue according to the Daily Record. The 213 items, totaled at about $600,000, are personal protective equipment.

Corrections from previous issue

Four zebras escaped their trailer in North Bend and slowed traffic on I-90 April 28 according to NBC News. The animals, privately owned, required an effort to capture them that included a rodeo clown that was in the area.

CNN reported that a former National Security Agency (NSA) employee that tried to sell classified information to an FBI agent that they believed worked for the Russian government has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.

A shootout in Charlotte, North Carolina on April 29 during an attempt to serve a warrant ended with four law enforcement officers being killed according to Fox News. The individual who the warrant was for was who initially opened fire and was found dead.

The NBC News reported that the Old Kijabe Dam in the Mai Mahiu area collapsed and killed 40 people. Flooding from heavy rain was the cause behind the collapse.

A medical trial in The Gambia has seen success with a microneedles patch to help vaccinate children from the measles according to the BBC. The technology, called microarray-patch, can help deliver painless vaccination to remote areas.

The three-ship flotilla sponsored by the Freedom Flotilla Coalition had to halt their journey to Gaza on April 26 after Guinea Bissau removed its country flag from two of the ships, Reuters reported. The ships, that have over 5000 tons of aid, are required to sail under a country’s flag.

Miscredited: The final paragraph of “Campus Village catches fire in the night” was incorrectly attributed to Audry Baratto. (Page 1)

Miscredited: Blake Cloud was incorrectly labeled as Blake Burto n in a cutline on “CWU short films selected for Kino Short Film Festival.” (Page 10)



What Up Wildcats,

Happy a little before May the 4th, CWU!

I’d like to thank everybody who has reached out to me and our staff with your congratulations about last week’s issue, and your very kind words about the quality of that issue. We pour our hearts and souls into this paper each and every week, and to see that people are responding to our work with such positivity is very sweet. I hope that we are serving you all properly.

We’re back at 12-pages this week. Midterms kicked all of our asses, I’m sure you all can relate. We didn’t want to stretch to 16 if we didn’t think that we had the quality of stories to go that length. But I am still super duper thrilled with this week’s issue, which has a lot of fun inside. Photo-spreads! Reviews! Elections! It’s a hoot!

And as we cross the half-way point of the quarter, I’d like to give a big thank you to my entire staff of writers, editors and designers. What we do here would not be possible without each and every one of you, and I’m so grateful to have a circle of such talented people working with me as we try to print the best newspaper possible each week. It’s gonna be a fun ride as we start to see the light at the end of the

ter. I can’t wait.

Buckle up, Isaac (and Squish)

for this

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@CWUObserver CWU Observer @CWUObserver May 2, 2024
(Photo of Isaac looking lovingly at Squish the dog by Lee Beck)
Editorial Policy: The Observer is a public forum for student expression, in which student editors make policy and content decisions. The mission of The Observer is two-fold: to serve Central Washington University as a newspaper and to provide training for students who are seeking a career in journalism. The Observer seeks to provide complete, accurate, dependable information to the campus and community; to provide a public forum for the free debate of issues, ideas and problems facing the community at large; and to be the best source of information, education and entertainment news. As a training program, The Observer is the practical application of the theories and principles of journalism. It teaches students to analyze and communicate information that is vital to the decision making of the community at large. It provides a forum for students to learn the ethics, values and skills needed to succeed in their chosen career. If you have questions or concerns, email us at Faculty Adviser / Editorial Consultant Francesco Somaini Copy Desk Lead / Opinion Editor Megan Foster Editor-in-chief Isaac Hinson Lead Graphic Designer Brandon Davis Junior Graphic Designer Z Morris Robin MacArthur
Scene Editor / Social Media Manager Isaac Dobmeier Sports Editor Charis Jones News Editor Astor Powell-Pedersen Assistant Copy Desk Lee Beck Online Editor Winnie Killingsworth Sports Reporters Jackson Roberts Devanee Lopez Cristopher Comp Scene Reporters Gabriela Gonzalez Hayley James Gunner Stuns May Borges News Reporters Melanie Pulido Lopez Layla Taha Nic Palaia Photographers Brandon Mattesich Abril Fernandez
and Squish!

Quarters semesters

and from the student’s perspective

Many colleges in the United States run on the semester system, while CWU runs on the quarter system. What sets the two apart? The semester system is made up of two 15-week terms, traditionally, in the fall and spring. The quarter system is made up of three 10-week terms in the fall, winter and spring, with the option of a summer quarter that can assist students in catching up on courses or graduating early.

A good portion of the CWU student population comprises transfer students, students who have come to CWU from another college and may bring a different perspective.

“It feels like quarters allow for more breaks throughout the academic year, this makes pushing to those breaks a little easier,” Logan Groves, a transfer student and third-year business administration and human resources major, said. “Quarters give me shorter class terms making burnout a lot less, in more intense classes, and align better

with the seasons making my OCD like it. I dislike that this calls for three midterms and three finals rather than two. However, the finals may be easier as the quarter is only 10-11 weeks rather than a full semester.”

There are positive and negative elements of both the quarter and semester systems and students have a variety of opinions about the topic.

Melissa Porter, senior clinical physiology major, likes the time allotted with a semester system. “Because semesters are so long, I feel like you learn the topic better since it’s not being crammed into limited lectures,” she says. “That being said, I do think that semesters can feel too long, and I lose motivation a lot quicker and sometimes I feel like certain topics are covered too slow.”

The difference in workload between quarters and semesters can affect how a student performs in a class and their learning process. “I think the class load is roughly the same, maybe slightly heavier in quarters.

I think in a quarter system you often end up taking a few more courses at the same time than in a semester system,” Porter said. “I sometimes feel like the homework load is larger on a weekly basis in quarters than semesters.” Others prefer what a quarter system offers.

Bryce Jacobsen, a senior business administration major, shares his favor.“I like them because there’s more starts and finishes throughout the school year,” Jacobsen said. “It gives you that extra chance to kind of start over and refresh every quarter and I feel like I’d rather have things change more often to, you know, keep me more interested.”

The variety of perspectives sheds light on how students currently at a university using the quarter system feel about a conversation that is happening from coffee houses to roundtables and everything in between.

May 2, 2024 Page 03 @CWUObserver CWU Observer @CWUObserver
(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

CWU alumna brings a fresh perspective to


ountains of fruits and veggies will bring color to 4th Street, live music from buskers will fill the quiet Ellensburg air and our sleepy town will brim with energy starting Saturday, May 4. It’s the long-awaited arrival of market season as flowers bloom in the hills, marking signs of spring.

“I think Ellensburg is kind of a unique situation where we have all these farmers growing all these really really cool things,” Alana Jacobs, the Ellensburg Farmers Market’s brand new market manager, said. “And it’s such a personal experience because it’s such a small community and they’re just right there selling to you.”

A 2021 graduate, Jacobs takes her experience at CWU to the realm of farm-fresh goods, likening her role as orientation planner to her current position, where she’s in charge of “event planning and working with all different types of people from all different backgrounds.”

“It’s kind of the same population as incoming students who want to be involved when they come to Central and want to learn new things and, you know, have a good time when they come here,” Jacobs said, comparing CWU’s bright-eyed newcomers to the farmers market environment.

Community outreach through avenues like social media is a talent that Jacobs hopes to bring to the table in her new position. “I really love for social media to be super interactive,” Jacobs said. “I worked on social media in the past for orientation, and I worked in the marketing department at Central for a little bit after I graduated. I really want to get vendors involved in the social media content that’s created. I’d also really love to do like more spotlights on each vendor and what they sell and where they’re from. And I think that’s been done in the past actually. But I just have kind of a different idea for the format of it and how I like to go about it. And of course, I love doing trends and stuff like that. So I’m pretty excited to have some of the vendors hop on.”

As a graphic designer and illustrator, Jacobs showcases her talents by giving some style to the market, as well as the local clients she does freelance work for.

The unique community in Ellensburg has also been hugely impactful on Jacobs, who cites the support of the farmer’s market board members and consistent vendors as indispensable. “The board members are so so knowledgeable and they’ve been around for quite a

long time,” Jacobs said. “They know the ins and outs of the vendors and their personalities and what they kind of prefer when it comes to vendor placement.” The tight-knit community aspect of Ellenburg’s small-town market scene makes her feel right at home in this new position.

“A lot of them [members of the market community] are friends or family members and have known each other for a long time,” Jacobs said. “And then we have new vendors coming in who are closer, like my age, kind of trying to make a name for themselves and they are also pretty warmly welcomed in the community as well. So it’s a good mix, but we have a really great base community of vendors and farmers and stuff in town.”

A frequent customer herself, Jacobs has a long list of favorite goods she looks for on every visit.

“I love farmers,” Jacobs said. “Obviously, those are like, number one for me at a farmer’s market. I love produce. Produce that’s from someone’s garden or farm that’s in season [and] super ripe. Super good. That, you can basically use for anything. Making recipes off of that is one of my favorite things.” While Jacobs loves to cook, she vehemently insisted that she’s not a talented chef.

Jacobs highlights daikon radishes and big heirloom tomatoes as constant favorites. “I think it’s a really cool and unique experience to be able to pick that [her favorite produce] up from someone’s farm, and then take it to your home and then make something with it,” Jacobs said. “I also really love pastries and like bakery-style vendors. And I also love meat vendors because the meat that you can get around here in Ellensburg is pretty awesome.” Truthfully, her shopping list is expansive.

Come fall, Jacobs has her eye out for delicata squash, tiny yellow squashes with green stripes and edible rinds that she “roasts the crap out of,” she said. “I’ll put them in with pasta, or I’ll have it with meat or a carb and it’s just such a nice side and they’re so sweet. And you can either season them to be like salty and savory or like really sweet which I think is really cool.” (This writer’s dad makes a mean delicata squash pasta so this was a treat to hear)

Jacob’s status as a food fanatic has been inherited by her four cats, lovingly named Cornbread, Sardine, Mortadella (Morty for short) and Gumball respectively, which is something she insists on mentioning at every available opportunity.

Page 04 May 2, 2024 @CWUObserver CWU Observer @CWUObserver
Alana Jacobs and her darling cats. (Photos courtesy of Alana Jacobs)

Everything you need to know about the upcoming ASCWU election

ASCWU Elections are quickly approaching, with online voting for the General Elections opening Monday, May 13 at 8 a.m. and closing Friday, May 17 at 5 p.m. There are eight students running for executive board positions, and five students running for senator positions. “Six elected student officers work to represent all students equally and fairly and to ensure that their voices are heard,” according to the ASCWU website. “From facilities to academics, the ASCWU Student Government helps advocate for student concerns and creates programs to make the Central college experience more memorable.”

There are three candidates for ASCWU president running for the 2024-2025 academic year, the first of which is the presidential incumbent, Malik Cantu. “While in office, I have practiced collaborative and empowering leadership that included and amplified as many voices as possible in conversations happening on campus,” Cantu said. “My incredible team of directors and I have provided leadership opportunities for students, advocated for resources on campus, and created stronger bonds with the student body.” They also said that in their time as ASCWU president, they have made an effort to use their experience in every branch of student government to better serve the student population. “If re-elected, I will focus on navigating continued conversations of the new Multicultural center, build relationships across campus and in the Ellensburg community, and help develop emerging leaders that will uplift our wildcat community.”

The next presidential candidate in the running is Charles Johnson. Johnson has previously served in ASCWU as Senate Speaker and the senator for the College of Business. “I believe that students deserve absolute transparency about the decisions being made for them by administration and deserve to have a voice in those decisions. In my time with ASCWU I have prioritized advocating for the needs, wants and hopes of CWU students,” Johnson said. Johnson wants students to know that his top priority as president would be to make sure that the voices of all students can be heard.

The final presidential candidate is Eliasib Alvarado. Alvarado is running on the mission to empower every type of student at CWU. “I am committed to ensuring that students have access to essential resources, including long-needed workers’ rights, cultural centers, and long-lasting programs that will advocate and assist with the diverse needs of first-generation, POC, queer, low-income, students with disabilities, international students, transfer students, and those experiencing housing insecurity,” Alvarado said.

For Vice President, Nick Villa is returning to run for this role. “My journey in this role has been fueled by a passion for representing our student body and working towards creating a more inclusive, supportive, and student-centric university,” Villa said. “Key goals that I would pursue in this position include amplifying resources awareness that CWU provides to students and ensuring that student receive the help they need.”

Running for Director of Student Life and Facilities is Gerardo Castillo. “The reason I would like to continue serving as an elected official is because of the following; what I have learned this year will allow me to implement replicable strategies that can be used for years to come,” Castillo said.

Michelle Carrillo is re-running for Director for Governmental Affairs. “My goals for this position as director of governmental affairs is to continue to inform students about local, state, and national higher education policies,” Carillo said. “I will continue to promote the importance of being civically engaged through voter registration, voting, and lobbying at the state capitol in Olympia. It is important to let students know how important and effective student lobbying is, as we passed bills like the Washington College Grant term eligibility to match the Pell Grant, and our basic needs provisor to ensure that each university has a full-time navigator. I will use my knowledge that I gained from being the director this year as well as the legislative liaison for central and use it to my advantage on how I will reach out to students.”

Two students are running for the position of Senate Speaker, Alec “Hondo” Acosta-Vega and Meric Jackson. Acosta-Vega has been a part of ASCWU in one way or another since his first year, including being a senator. “As Senate Speaker, I want to lead the senate to success and let the student body know that the senate and I are here for them and will advocate for them and get results,” Acosta-Vega said.

Jackson is running for speaker to be a voice for change. “I have grown to love and enjoy this school and I want to do whatever I can to help change Central for the better,” Jackson said. “I would love to be the Senate Speaker and help create legislation that builds this school up to be the best it can be.”

The Observer will be continuing their coverage of the ASCWU presidential candidates in the weeks leading up to the election. Final results for the ASCWU General Election will be announced on May 23.

May 2, 2024 Page 05 @CWUObserver CWU Observer @CWUObserver
(Photo courtesy of Pexels)


CWU students and alumni traveled to T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington on April 27 to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks take on the Seattle Mariners. With the 2,000 tickets allotted for the CWU section sold out, the Wildcats started to spill into the rest of the ballpark too. Along with purchase of a ticket, fans received a co-branded CWU Mariners jersey. The Mariners won with a final score of 3-1.

The boardwalk in section 339 was bustling with members of the Wildcat family, even Wellington the Wildcat made an appearance to take pictures. The CWU cheerleaders brought tons of energy to the environment and 88.1 The ‘Burg provided music and on-thespot interviews.

The CWU and Mariner mashup jersey was a hot topic for fans as they all were lined up before section 339 had opened. The specifics of the jersey entail the regular Mariners lettering but with a red jersey and the CWU logo on the left sleeve.

“I got the black one [jersey] last year, but I think I like this one a little bit more just because the color is a little more obvious that it’s Central,” Danielle Haggerty, a CWU graduate student, said. Jackson Brassfield, a third-year student double majoring in law and justice and political science, thought last year’s jersey was a bit better, but he is still a big fan of the red.

Raya Miron, a junior sports management major, was able to work behind the scenes of the event along with many other sports management majors. Miron said that it would have been a lot more fun if it hadn’t rained, but “That’s Seattle for you.”

Photos by Yohanes Goodell

Miron shared her thoughts on this year’s jersey, as well as the overall experience of the event. “As someone who was behind the scenes, I thought it went a lot better than expected,” Miron said. “I think they were good quality and cute but maybe putting the year on the back would have made it extra special.”

Miron and other sports management majors were tasked with bringing recognition to the event and serving as a guide to CWU students and alumni. The students were in charge of setting up and taking down equipment for the alumni gathering at the boardwalk, pointing people in the direction of where to get their jerseys and making phone calls weeks ahead to persuade the alumni to buy tickets.

Ryan Moreno, a senior marketing major, discussed his excitement to grab the jerseys upon arrival. “These are the reasons I come to these,” he said. Moreno also praised CWU for making the event happen again this year. “I think it is so sweet,” he said. “I don’t see a lot of colleges doing this ... So it’s really fun to see a lot of my friends, staff and family all here.”

The competing teams did not provide much action for the fans with their bats as the game was mostly dominated by the pitchers. Mariners’ pitcher George Kirby put on a show recording a career high of 12 strikeouts in seven innings of work allowing only two hits.

By the bottom of the seventh inning the Mariners led 1-0. Then, with a runner aboard, first baseman Ty France launched a two-run-homer over the left center field wall, giving the Mariners a three-run buffer and ultimately securing them the win.

“I don’t see a lot of colleges doing this ... So it’s really fun to see a lot of my friends, staff and family all here.”
- Ryan Moreno
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In an age where it seems that both movie-makers and movie-goers seem to be averse to the concept of sex in their media, Luca Guadaginino’s “Challengers” embraces sex and polyamory both literally and in allegory.

Nic: “I right off have to say this is an incredibly well-made movie. Top to bottom. I was very, very very impressed with Guadaginino. He’s a very well-acclaimed filmmaker who’s created a whole lot of classics including ‘Call Me By Your Name’ and the ‘Suspiria’ remake. What really fascinated me about this movie though is that Guadaginino really captures this sort of Italian neo-realism, because he himself is from Italy.”

Isaac: “I definitely agree. You can see the influence from that kind of new-wave generation across all of his movies. Especially, I would point to this one [‘Challengers’], ‘Call Me By Your Name’ and also ‘Bones And All,’ which I don’t know if you’ve seen.”

Nic: “I have seen that one.”

Isaac: “That might still be my favorite of his movies. But you see it [Italian neo-realism] in the way that he uses the camera, the lighting, there’s a very specific scene in a parking lot towards the end of the movie where there are red and blue lights across Zendaya and Josh O’Connor’s faces which is just… We don’t see movies look like that much anymore.”

Nic: “Big time. Especially as [I have] been very disappointed with A24 as of recently because they’ve been using AI for their stuff. Because, what really drew me to this movie at first was the very impressive poster with Zendaya’s face because I thought it was so cool and unique. I haven’t seen any posters like that in a while, and I think it does a good job displaying what the movie is gonna look like, or what to expect.”

Nic: “No, it’s very fresh and original, which is very fascinating. Another thing that I liked about this is, it’s a very little thing, but sometimes if I

Our native movie reviewers Isaac and Nic took to the local Grand Meridian theater on Sunday to catch the new film and review it together, in what is hopefully the start of a new column in the vein of “Siskel & Ebert.” They recorded an extensive conversation about the film on Monday in the Bistro, and hope that you enjoy this experiment of theirs.

keep recognizing actors it will take me out of the movie. But, to have just three mostly well known actors appear in it was very nice.”

Isaac: “There’s essentially three characters in the whole movie.”

Nic: “Normally I really despise love triangle stories, like I joke on ‘Twilight’ and stuff, but I just hate it when it’s involved in anything. But I really liked the way it was done here because essentially what this film does is explore the psychology of what these three people mentally are going through, and this idea is also kind of a tennis allegory you could see where you have the two main characters [Art and Patrick], they’re the players, and Tashi, Zendaya’s character could be seen as the ball going back and forth.”

Isaac: “Definitely, I feel like pretty much the whole movie uses tennis as an allegory. Not just for relationships, but also for sex. I wanted to talk to you about that because we have a Hollywood right now that is very afraid of sex. And movie-goers and audiences in general seem to be very against the idea of sex in their cinema and their television, and this movie does not shy away from that at all. This is a very sexy, very stylistic, very sweaty movie.”

Nic: “I feel like that’s partially because of Guadagnino’s European background. In Europe, they have very different opinions on sex and nudity compared to us Americans who see a shoulder and think ‘That’s too much,’ so I think that played a big part in it. And that’s also what helped give this a much more universal voice if that makes sense. Because that really helped us to explore these people in a much more realistic way.”

Isaac: “I think that’s a good note to end on, but before we do, I wanted to ask you one more thing about the score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, I thought their score was incredible, probably my favorite score of the year.”

Nic: More than ‘Dune [Part Two]’?

Isaac: “Probably tied with ‘Dune.’ But, I think I would listen to the ‘Challengers’ score before I would listen to the ‘Dune’ score if that makes sense.”

Nic: “No, big time.”

Isaac: “We were talking earlier about how Guadagnino was making movies like he was making them in the 70s and early 80s. This feels like a score from that era. It’s groovy, it’s a romp, it’s propulsive, it’s exhilarating and it totally fits the vibe of the movie.”

Nic: “It kicks in whenever the scenes get intense. Even if the characters are just having a conversation. The moment the tone or the characters voices change, it kicks in. And then they will the camera will do this fun thing where it will cut back and forth and zoom back and forth just like a tennis match. Another audio thing I liked that they do is that the audio of any given scene, they lower it just a little bit to the point where it’s almost at the same level that the music is, so the music becomes a part of the scene.”

@CWUObserver CWU Observer @CWUObserver
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Left to right: Mike Faist, Zendaya and Josh O’Connor in ‘Challe ngers’ (Photo courtesy Amazon / MGM Studios)


“Spider-Man 2” is (still) the best comic book movie SOUND BITE COLUMN

It’s hard to remember a time when films that were based on comic books didn’t dominate the industry, especially with the commercial success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, none of that would have been possible without Sam Raimi’s trilogy of “Spider-Man” movies that debuted in the 2000s.

The films were met with acclaim from fans and critics alike for the most part, with “Spider-Man 2” often being seen as the highest point of the trilogy. With the film recently swinging back into theaters to celebrate Columbia Pictures’ 100th anniversary, many have gotten the chance to revisit this old favorite. For this writer, it also re-sparked something that I’ve always known, but never had the chance to vocalize, “Spider-Man 2” is the best comic book movie ever made.

The bottom line of what makes “Spider-Man 2” the best is actually very simple. It never forgets that it’s a film about people. Sometimes extraordinary people, sure, but it rarely gets so caught up in that fact that it fails to explore who they are. In particular, the duality between Peter Parker and his titular alter-ego, Spider-Man. While the first film establishes why Peter became a spider-themed superhero, this sequel explores the effect it’s had on him and tests his faith in the lessons he learned.

Tobey Maguire brings his very best to the role, delivering a performance that is campy but also incredibly earnest. Portraying Peter Parker as a true everyman thrust into circumstances beyond his control, his struggles are ours. His love life is in shambles, he can’t make it to

his classes or hold down a job and he never has time for the people he cares about, all because there’s always work for Spider-Man to do. These troubles compound throughout the beginning of the film and lead to an extreme crisis of faith, where he begins to lose sight of the idea that with great power must come great responsibility.

The film fully utilizes the human aspect of Spider-Man, that he isn’t some mythological figure, he’s a guy trying to get his life together burdened by powers he never asked for. He even decides to give up on being Spider-Man halfway through the film, leading to a much better personal life for him. However, what makes this compelling is that Peter is still a hero.

He continuously finds himself witnessing situations where people need his help, reminding him of the important role he once played. This culminates in a scene where Peter receives some wisdom from Aunt May, who delivers a powerful speech to him about how she “believes there’s a hero in all of us” and effectively reminds him why he became Spider-Man to begin with.

He has the ability to help people in a way that nobody else can and therefore, he must. All of this is in contrast to the film’s antagonist, Doctor Otto Octavius, portrayed masterfully by Alfred Molina. Octavius, whose science experiment goes wrong, finds himself in a “Jekyll and Hyde”-esque scenario as a good man turned supervillain. The film uses both characters to explore the idea of power and responsible uses of it.

Sam Raimi’s directing style is also a match made in heaven for the character. While some have argued that his style is outdated, the

various transitions, extended shots, focus on characters and campy humor all come together to create a truly heartfelt film that’s a pleasure to experience.

There is no greater example of this than the train scene, which is an action set-piece that depicts the grand return of Spider-Man and his second battle with Octavius. It begins as a fight scene (with stunning choreography, I might add) but then transitions into something completely different as Octavius destroys the train’s emergency brake and flees, leaving Spider-Man to sort the situation out.

Now it’s a quick-paced and desperate scene where Peter is trying everything he can think of to stop this train before it runs off the tracks, culminating in a powerful moment where he uses his own body to pull the train to a stop, using every ounce of strength he has in him to accomplish this.

After that, Peter passes out, but is caught by the civilians he just saved before he can fall, who are just as keen to save his life as he was theirs. This beautifully represents Aunt May’s sentiment that there’s “a hero in all of us” from earlier in the film and perfectly encapsulates what the character of Spider-Man is all about, ordinary people doing their best to help one another.

There is so much to say about “Spider-Man 2” that makes me love it, but even my words don’t do it justice. The best way to understand what makes “Spider-Man 2” the best comic book film ever made is to experience it. So, if you haven’t seen it before, go do it! And if you have, consider a revisit. Truly, Raimi and Maguire’s take on the friendly neighborhood wallcrawler is unmatched.

I’m so over the AI discussion

Last November, I had the unfortunate pleasure of being introduced to a tool that was touted as being the future, something that I shouldn’t, and apparently couldn’t, live without. ChatGPT was released for public use in 2022 and has retained its position as the jock in a high school comingof-age movie; that is to say overly involved, annoying and the receptor of too much screen time.

I’ve been assured this chatbot has pioneered the future of artificial intelligence. And who am I, a simple communication major, to argue with Silicon Valley? At this point, nearing two years since ChatGPT was rolled

out, I’ve reached the end of my line writing “How will AI impact my career?” themed assignments and reading the “Zero tolerance” AI policies in syllabi.

The jokes that poke fun at AI saying it is more controversial than politics now fall flat as the pair are a package deal. In their spare time from planning TikTok’s demise, congress has generously donated their efforts to addressing vaguely outlined AI issues. It seems as though ChatGPT was the catalyst to pull the already brewing AI discussion to the surface.

Depending on who you ask, AI will either usher in a bright, exciting future or send society spiraling into a robot-governed dictatorship. The only commonality between opinions seems to be that everyone has one.


Welcome to this week’s issue of Sound Bite, where we’re talking big developments on the beef front.

Kendrick Lamar finally dropped a response to Drake, and it’s the most personal diss yet. In the six-minute track entitled “euphoria” Kendrick attacks not only Drake’s music but his validity as an artist, saying “I hate the way that you walk, the way that you talk I hate the way that you dress I hate the way you sneak diss” while simultaneously going after every notable flaw Drake has. Further, Kendrick challenges Drake’s blackness as an artist, a constant point of contention and insecurity for Drake, as well as threatening to tell the truth about him (Drake) if he keeps lying about Kendrick in his own disses.

This comes at a hard time for Drake as he recently removed his second diss “Taylor Made Freestyle” after Tupac’s Estate threatened legal action stating, “The Estate would never have given its approval for this use. The unauthorized, equally dismaying use of Tupac’s voice against Kendrick Lamar, a good friend to the Estate who has given nothing but respect to Tupac and his legacy publicly and privately, compounds the insult.”

On a bit of a more humorous note, the beef between Quavo and Chris Brown seems to be escalating in a far more entertaining manner than that of Kendrick and Drakes. After a release by Quavo which compared Chris Brown to the likes of a “Crackhead Michael Jackson,” Chris Brown decided to take a more unconventional route of retaliation. According to popular speculation, a recent show of Quavos was almost entirely bought out by Chris Brown leaving Quavo to perform in front of a very empty arena. Previously a similar stunt had been pulled by 50 Cent, but even that was not at this scale.


Isaac Dobmeier Columnist

The influence of AI on American culture and daily life can not be minimized. Outside of protests, like that of the Hollywood writers whose multi-month AI-centered strike garnered international attention, AI has been cleverly integrating its way into the path of the unsuspecting. For savvy internet users, it’s easy to laugh at AI-generated song covers and videos of former presidents playing Minecraft together. For an older, or less exposed audience, what’s seen on Facebook is law. AI content on Facebook seems to have done a better job fooling the Gen X and beyond crowd than Ron DeSantis’ high-heeled cowboy boots.


So Bladee (my favorite artist ever) dropped a new album. 30 songs. Out of nowhere. Packed with easter eggs from previous projects that fans will devour, “Cold Visions” is a capstone achievement of sorts for the artist, as well as an evolution of his spiritual-focused, ethereal sound in recent years. This transition could also be labeled a regression, returning to the “evil Bladee” edge that was a hallmark of his work from 2013 to 2018. As far as the content of “Cold Visions” goes, it’s honestly incredible. To roughly summarize the album’s dense themes, Bladee’s not doing well. He’s grappling with turning 30, emotionally numb, antisocial and sick of the underground stardom he’s accrued over the last decade. Sonically, Bladee might be at his artistic peak here. The ad libs! The dark lyrics! The production is stellar and Bladee works so well on the rage beats that pepper the project (I soyjaked irl hearing the F1LTHY producer tag on the opener after so many years without).

So many longtime collaborators have standout contributions, shoutout Yung Sherman on “YUNG SHERMAN,” Sickboyrari aka Black Kray on “OTHERSIDE” and all of Yung Lean’s features especially. My only criticism is that it can’t be my favorite Bladee album (that spot is forever reserved by “Working on Dying” sorry) but it just might be one of his best. The AOTY race is already a wrap.

Favorite tracks:


“FUN FACT (feat. Yung Lean)”

“YUNG SHERMAN (feat. Yung Sherman)” “KING NOTHINGG”

@CWUObserver CWU Observer @CWUObserver Page 09
Gabriela Gonzalez Columnist


The CWU men’s rugby team recently returned home after their loss to Brigham Young University in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday, April 13. Though the Wildcats lost, they boasted a 9-4 overall record and have begun their work to prepare for next season.

“[Our season] tells us right now, we are not good enough as a program and we have the resources to utilize, to become good enough,” Samson Dwyer, a senior center, said. “We just haven’t done that yet.”

While the Wildcats did well during their season with a 6-3 record at home and a 3-1 record on the road, Dwyer cemented the idea that the team still had room to improve. The biggest factor for growth that Dwyer pointed out was being able to finish the job and be disciplined enough to put in the final 10% of effort to dominate their opponents.

“I think something that we kind of struggled with this year was creating an environment that was game-like enough that we could step up to the big pressure,” Dwyer said. “And that really relied on everybody, not just the guys that were playing on [that] Saturday.”

Dwyer went on to say that one of the major priorities of the team, especially to head coach Todd Thornley, was emphasizing everyone’s individual importance. “We have had multiple times where freshmen stepped up for us big this year, and so we’re really building confidence throughout the year,” Dwyer said.

Thornley’s dedication to the team was a contributing factor to their success as he not only kept tabs on the workouts they were doing each week but he also had a plan for almost every game which helped the players prepare and recover during the preseason and regular season.

“I think Todd [Thornley] has done a good job too, as well as putting emphasis on ‘everybody matters,’” Tiai Vavao, a senior flanker on the team, said. “He will tell us, we can reach out and everybody has a role.”

While the upperclassmen are a necessary boon to the team, the underclassmen in the crew are also an important addition. The future of Wildcat rugby rests on the freshman and sophomores of this season.

“We’re always lacking … people in the front row. I don’t know why that tends to happen. We only had like six [people] this year,” Kye Jones, a senior scrum-half said. “But Quaid [Hunt] is one of them. Definitely our biggest player physically and mentally. He’s just built different.”

Quaid Hunt is a sophomore player from Denver, Colorado and an arts and sciences major at CWU. He has become a valuable asset to the team at the prop position and an inspiration to many of his teammates.

“I’m really excited for Chris Grosse,” Dwyer said. “I think he has a lot of potential. He’s already pretty naturally athletic and he is super strong. So I am

really excited for him and Quaid Hunt.” Christopher Grosse is a freshman lock this year on the team and has scored multiple times on some of the tougher opponents that the Wildcats have faced. He scored a try in the Wildcat’s victory over the West Trinity University Spartans (48-26) and scored the final try in the Wildcat’s victory over the Cal Poly University Mustangs (41-20).

Despite being on the up-and-coming big names, the underclassmen aren’t the only ones to credit for their successful season. Oscar Treacy, a junior at the wing position, scored a hat trick, meaning he scored a try three times in a row, against the Western Trinity Spartans earlier this season. Dwyer this year also scored a total of three tries during their season during his time as captain.

“This guy [Dwyer], I think he killed it this year,” Vavao said. “I had [him] actually on my nomination for comeback player because last year he went through some stuff, a couple injuries. Then this year [he] became first captain and killed it.”

Page 10 May 2, 2024 @CWUObserver CWU Observer @CWUObserver
Fifth year center Calvin Liulamaga making a sliding try against the Seattle Rugby Club. Photos courtesy of Jacob Thompson / Thompson Sports Media Senior flanker Tiai Vavao making the takedown on a Lindenwood University opponent. The team concluded their season with a .692 winning percentage.

‘Star Wars’ ‘Star Wars’ hot takes

from The Observer staff

Luke should be WAY weirder than he is portrayed as in any of the movies. He was raised for 25(?) years on some backwater planet controlled by one of the biggest crime lords in the galaxy. The schools there are VERY likely to be pretty sub-optimal, his only friends are like, 3 dudes his age, his aunt and uncle, and some old crazy wizard. Like there is no way that that is a well-adjusted man. (I mean he did tongue his sister though so…)

Anakin Skywalker sucked as a jedi and only grew up after both of his legs got cut off. Why does it take you until you get burned in a lava lake to decide on whether you’d rather be a Jedi Master or a decent partner? Grow up dude and stop throwing a fit.

This is a repeat from my hot take from spring 2021, but “The Last Jedi” is so easily the best “Star Wars” movie since the original trilogy and it’s not particularly close, and the fan response to that movie is why there hasn’t been a single good “Star Wars” project since, besides “Andor.”

Echoing Isaac’s opinion here, “The Last Jedi” is very easily the third best “Star Wars” movie, just behind “Empire” and “A New Hope.” Second, the prequels are just not good. I don’t care about the nostalgia, I don’t care about the memes. “The Phantom Menace” (boring) and “Attack of the Clones” (stupid) are utter dogshit and I don’t like them even ironically.

Jatz shouldn’t have been changed.

The Mandalorian/Jedi lore is some of the most important lore in Star Wars. I really love when there’s chances to explore really old stuff. On top of that, I think Jango Fett was not highlighted enough in the prequels. It’s crazy that they used a Mandalorian’s DNA to fight for the Jedi. That’s messed up man.

Reylo for life.

Episodes 1-3 are good movies, I enjoyed them as a child with the stolen VHS my brother took from his friend.

“Rogue One” is the best “Star Wars” movie, “The Clone Wars” is for kids.

The “Star Wars Rebels” series is extremely underrated and I loved seeing those characters come to life in “Ahsoka.” I think that the story of “Star Wars” is much better than the newest trilogy. I want to see more Ezra Bridger!

There are no good “Star Wars” movies. Dave Filoni is actually hurting “Star Wars” instead of helping it. Filoni now only seems to be more interested in writing his own weird fanfiction than writing an actually good story.

May 2, 2024 Page 11
@CWUObserver CWU Observer @CWUObserver

ITAM Specialist

Joey McCalden is a junior majoring in information technology asset management at CWU. McCalden is from Pe Ell, Washington, but he came to Ellensburg to pursue his degree. He is currently working as a wellness ambassador for the CWU Office of Health Promotion.

Joey McCalden

How did you get into your position with the office of health promotion?

“I just looked on the CWU student job list, applied and got a job.”

What would you say your greatest accomplishment is?

“Greatest accomplishment is probably in high school I helped, or I led a project to remodel my school’s weight room. It was pretty run down [and] it needed a lot of work. So I put in a lot of volunteer work, got funding from the school and remodeled it; got a bunch of new equipment, repainted the walls and now it looks a lot better and functions a lot better.”

What is at the very top of your bucket list? How do you hope to cross it off?

“I’d say, it might be cliché or a little odd for a bucket list, but just to have a really good [and] strong family someday. [I’m] hoping to accomplish that by doing well in school, working on myself [and] always trying to be a good person.”

Who has had the most profound impact on your life?

“It might be kind of basic answer, but probably my parents. They are great parents. They’re really strong, like good relationship and they kinda, they just always have fun. I mean, they’re the happiest people I know and it’s like, it’s really fun to see that. They’re always just in a good mood. If I go see them or visit them, they’re always super supportive and they’re always just wanting to have fun and they always look forward to things, which I love about that.”

What is the best quality you think you inherited from your parents?

“I’d say my ability to just look at the positive side of things. My dad always raised me to not try to focus on the negatives. Even if an opportunity doesn’t seem like it might be great, just take it, you never know what will happen. And always work hard and have fun.”

What do you miss most about your hometown?

“It’s gotta be between the people or the wildlife. I gotta lot of friends, it’s a really small community so we’re all tight knit. I know everyone there and, you know, if I need something I can go to a bunch of different people, [and] they’ll be more than happy to help me. The wildlife it’s just great, you see a lot of animals. It’s like a private little Yellowstone over there, that’s how I describe it.”

What would you say to your future students?

“I would want to tell my future students that I am so proud of each of them, and grateful to get to be their teacher.”

Ecduy Gordillo Sr. Chemical Physiology “Beethoven.” Page 12 May 2, 2024 @CWUObserver CWU Observer @CWUObserver Skylar Parker Fr. Early Childhood Education “Mac Miller.” Submit a letter to the editor or a guest column on our website!
Jonathan Edwards Jr. Psychology “Jimi Hendrix.” If you could bring one musician back to life, who would it be? WEEKLY EVENTS 2 THURS 3 FRI 4 SAT 5 SUN 6 MON 7 TUES 8 WED 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Spring Career, Internship and Grad School Fair: SURC Ballroom 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Plant-Based Picnic: Science Lawn/ North of Japanese Garden Noon to 1 p.m. - International Cafe: SURC 137 7 to 8 p.m. - May the 4th Be With You Trivia Night: SURC Pit 9 to 10:30 p.m. - The Hot New Jam: SURC Theatre 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. - 20th Annual Economic Outlook Conference: SURC Ballroom 6 and 9 p.m. - Monday Movie Madness: “Turning Red” - SURC Theatre 2 to 4 p.m. - Adulthood Unlocked: SURC 5 to 6 p.m. - Top Rope Clinic: Recreation Center 5 to 7 p.m. - Slime Bar De-Stress: Brooks Library 152 6 to 7:20 p.m. - Trombone Composition Studio Collaborative Recital: Recital Hall 5 to 6 p.m. - S&A Committee Meeting: on Zoom 6 to 8 p.m. - Barrio Fiesta: SURC Ballroom
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